One of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season isn’t gift-getting, gingerbread house-making, or tree-decorating — it’s perusing those eye-catching Christmas displays in shop windows. This time of year, stores go all out to make sure you’ll check out their wares, even if you never actually set foot inside the store itself. From scenes of fantastic world travels to beautiful light displays that will make your jaw drop, here are seven of the most amazing Christmas window displays around the world that you should check out this holiday season.
1. Macy’s Herald Square, New York City
One of New York City’s longest-standing Christmas traditions is the holiday window decorations at Macy’s, and this year, the theme for the six animated and interactive window displays is “Give, Love, Believe.” Each window acts as a thank-you letter to those who made 2020 better: essential workers, those who marched for racial equality, and the inhabitants of New York who made huge sacrifices to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Macy’s Herald Square’s holiday windows can be seen on the Broadway side of the flagship store until Jan. 1, 2021.
Where: 151 W 34th Street, New York
2. Liberty, London
Legend has it that the beautiful wooden carvings of animals found all over Liberty London’s panels and pillars come alive on Christmas night when the customers are gone. The holidays are therefore a special time at this luxury British store, and this year, even though the shop has been closed because of the pandemic, the Great Marlborough Street windows have been heavily decorated as usual. In an attempt to bring a message of emotion, strength, and happiness at the end of this difficult year, the Liberty design team put together colorful and whimsical displays, featuring puffy clouds, large stars, hearts, and more with a 1960s aesthetic. Inside, despite the lack of customers, the store has decorated its central atrium with glittering paper garlands.
Where: Great Marlborough Street, London
3. Saks Fifth Avenue, New York City
This year, Saks Fifth Avenue’s theme for its Christmas decorations is “This is How We Celebrate.” The six windows in the center of the store’s facade display over-the-top celebrations in iconic spots around NYC, from Broadway in Times Square to a classic barber shop to illuminated houses in Dyker Heights. The other windows feature designer fashion with a holiday twist. Each window has evergreen adornments and holiday lights, with the entire display becoming a grand light show featuring a magical castle when night falls.
Where: 611 Fifth Avenue, New York
4. Galeries Lafayette, Paris
The Galeries Lafayette is well-known for its architectural details that makes the department store gorgeous year-round, but, every year, the beauty of the decor kicks up a notch with the holiday season. This year’s theme for the Galeries’ Christmas ornamentation is “Embark on a Christmas Voyage.” The 11 window displays are filled with automatons and gifts brought back by imaginary female aviator and explorer Céleste who flew her hybrid airplane around the world in 2020, from snow-covered jungle to the desert and a wonderful polar bear village, and finished her journey to land on the roof of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Inside the store, the largest Christmas tree in the world is hanging from the cupola, crowned with a dome reminiscent of Russian churches and filled with superb ornaments such as embroidered baubles and colorful pom poms that remind revelers of the richness of the world’s cultures.
Where: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris
5. Harrods, London
Being London’s most famous department store, expectations are pretty high for Harrods when it comes to holiday decorations. This year, Harrods theme for Christmas is “Harrods wrapped” and it starts at door number five, which has been pepped up to resemble an immense present that invites shoppers to come in and see what magic lies inside. The star colors for the 2020 holidays at Harrods are dark green and gold, the store’s iconic hues, and can be found in all the store’s windows displaying special luxury goods accompanied by adventurous Christmas figurines.
Where: 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London
6. Selfridges, London
This year, Selfridges took one of the ultimate symbols of the holidays, the Christmas tree, and designed unique scenes around it in each of its 13 store windows. Each window display is a representation of how we are celebrating the holidays a little differently in 2020, with a Christmas tree made of parcels and letters sent to Santa and loved ones we won’t get to see this year; a glamorous pink tree to cheer up everyone; a tree made of plaid cushions and vintage textile for a cozy Christmas at home; and a tree made of piles of children’s toys; among many more dreamy sets.
Where: 400 Oxford Street, London
7. Bloomingdale’s, New York City
Bloomingdale’s on Lexington Avenue between 59th and 60th streets in New York City always has an impressive window display, and this year the store is continuing its tradition. All the windows are heavily decorated, each in one vibrant color: yellow, blue, red, green, orange, purple, and red. In the green window a wreath of teddy bears invites passersby to “Give Snuggles” while the red-colored window is filled with hearts and candy canes. The orange display has several puppies and bone-shaped lights, and the yellow window is all about “Giving Smiles”.
Where: 1000 Third Avenue 59th Street and, Lexington Avenue, New York
A version of this article was previously published on December 5, 2019, and was updated on December 16, 2020, with more information.